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Copyright 2008 by Kevin Neeld. All Rights Reserved.

All rights reserved. No portion of this course may be used, reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including fax, photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system by anyone but the purchaser for their own personal use. This course may not be reproduced in any form without the expressed written permission of Kevin Neeld. For more information, please contact: Kevin Neeld Email: KN@ProdigyPerformanceTraining.com Websites: www.ProdigyPerformanceTraining.com www.KevinNeeld.com

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Disclaimer
The information in this course is offered for educational purposes only. It is meant to supplement, not replace, proper exercise training. The reader should be cautioned that all forms of exercise pose some inherent risks. With that in mind, those participating in strength and conditioning programs should check with their physician prior to initiating such activities. Anyone participating in these activities should understand that such training initiatives may be dangerous if performed incorrectly. The author advises readers to take full responsibility for their safety and know their limits. Before practicing the exercises in this course, be sure that your equipment is wellmaintained, and do not take risks beyond your level of experience, aptitude, training, and fitness. The exercise and dietary programs in this course are not intended as a substitute for any exercise routine or dietary regimen that may have been prescribed by your doctor. As with all exercise and dietary programs, you should get your doctors approval before beginning. Mention of specific companies, organizations, or authorities in this course does not imply endorsement by the author, nor does mention of specific companies, organizations, or authorities imply that they endorse this course, or its author. Internet addresses and telephone numbers given in this course were accurate at the time it went into press.

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Session 3: Strong Hockey Core Training


We can take one of two roads in life: One is the broad, welltraveled road to mediocrity, the other is the road to greatness and meaning. -Stephen Covey Core training is becoming an increasingly popular topic. Unfortunately, as popularity increases, so the does the amount of misinformation. When I ask a room full of people to tell me the first exercise they think of when I say Core Training, invariably the predominant answer is either sit-ups or crunches. In fact, most of the core training that athletes are accustomed to involves hundreds of sit-ups or crunches. Let me ask you a question. When was the last time you were playing hockey and you had to curl your upper body down towards your knees? NEVER! Unfortunately the utility of these exercises is minimal, especially if performed for extremely high repetitions, as form breaks down quickly. These and several other frequently used exercises, such as partner leg throw downs, actually work the hip flexors to a larger extent than the intended core musculature. Unfortunately, overworking the hip flexors can lead to a number of hip and lower back problems, as the hip flexors become chronically shortened. Before we train the core, it is important to understand the composition and purpose of the core. Contrary to popular belief, the core does NOT just consist of the 8-pack you see on the cover of your favorite magazines. The core can be defined as any muscle that connects to the hip bones, spine, or scapulae. Thats right, the core is not just one muscle (the rectus abdominis); its actually several dozen muscles! This wider inclusion allows us to more properly define the function of the core. The core serves two major purposes: 1) To provide a stable base for extremity (arms and legs) movement; and 2) To transfer force
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produced by the lower body and hips to the upper body. A weak core will lead to unstable extremity (arm and leg) movement and poor movement patterns. The force transfer concept may be a little harder to understand, but is of great importance in athletics. Think of squatting with a bar on your back. The leg and hip muscles are doing the majority of the work, but the weight is on your upper back. If your core cant be used to efficiently transfer that force, it doesnt matter how hard you push, the weight won't move. The same goes for shooting. A weak core will result in slower shots as force generated by the leg and hip musculature is lost. Unfortunately, your body is extremely efficient at compensating for these occurrences. As force generated by your legs and hips is lost through a weak core, the body attempts to compensate by producing more force from the shoulder and forearm musculature. These muscles are more adept to fine-tuning movements than they are at producing force. This role change can put these muscles and the surrounding structures at a greater risk of injury. The core is reactive, not proactive. In other words, the core rarely acts primarily to create movement; it usually functions to prevent movement. The core exercises below involve exercises to excite certain muscles, exercises to work the stabilization function of the core, and exercises to work the reactive function of the core. Youll also notice that crunches and reverse crunches are included. Personally, I never write crunches into the programs of my athletes. I think the negatives drastically out weigh the proposed benefits. However, most young athletes are going to do these exercises whether you recommend them or not. I include them here, and as part of the programs Ive included, as a means for you to teach your athletes an objective, consistent way to perform a crunch. Using a stick as an objective means to assess range-of-motion during this exercise is a great idea that Michael Boyle originally proposed years ago. My hope is that by teaching your athletes this form of the exercise, they will be
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less likely to go home and do hundreds of partial-range crunches in hopes of achieving the elusive six-pack. Reverse crunches, used periodically, are an effective exercise to teach the core to actively prevent the pelvis (hip bone) from tilting too far forward, which is a problem in hockey players with tight hip flexors. For this reason, I occasionally include reverse crunches in the programs of my athletes. Also, athletes expect to do these exercises. While it is your job to teach them proper training methods, you may find that you have to meet your athletes half-way, as athletes lose interest in training programs that dont include some of their favorite exercises. A few of the exercises call for weights. Weights may help, but arent necessary. You can make your own weights by taking an old milk jug or laundry detergent carton and filling it up with water or sand. Naturally, the weight will increase as bigger containers and heavier substances are utilized. Use this to progress your athletes. Also, some of the exercises can be altered to increase the reactive demand of the core musculature by adding a partner perturbation, or a challenge to stability. A partner perturbation simply involves the partner providing rapid, low-intensity perturbations to your body in different directions. Make sure athletes are taught how to do this appropriately. The key is to just slightly jostle the athlete as he/she attempts to stabilize their body, not to knock the athlete over. In general, performing 2-5 core exercises with 1-3 sets of 10-15 repetitions will suffice. For exercises that involve holding a position, 20-40 second holds are appropriate for bilateral (both feet/hands on the ground) holds and 15-30 second holds are appropriate for unilateral (one foot and/or hand raised off the ground) holds. More information on how to incorporate core exercises into your training plan will be discussed in Session 9: Program Design Made Easy.

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Exercises
Lying Draw-In Lie on the ground with your knees bent to 90 and your feet flat on the ground. Contract your core muscles to pull your belly button towards your spine. Think tall and thin while youre doing this. It may be helpful to place your hands on your midsection to help feel this movement.

Quadruped Draw-In Get into the quadruped position. This position involves placing your hands and knees on the ground so that your arms are perpendicular to your upper body and your thighs are perpendicular to the ground and to your hips. Your knees should be bent to 90 as well. Contract your core muscles to pull your belly button towards your spine. Think tall and thin while youre doing this.

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Quadruped Hip Extension (Leg Bent and Leg Extended) From the quadruped position, brace your core muscles as if someone was going to kick you in the stomach. Now, with your knee bent, extend your leg on one side so that the thigh is now parallel to the ground and the lower leg is perpendicular to the ground. Avoid going above this parallel position as this will result in lower back movement, which we dont want. Return to the starting position and repeat for the desired number of repetitions. Switch legs and repeat. This exercise can also be performed by fully extending one leg straight back so that the thigh and lower leg are both parallel to the ground in the up position. Dont let your hips open up. Your heel should be pointing straight back.

Bird-Dogs From the quadruped, brace your core muscles as if someone was going to kick you in the stomach. Extend one leg straight back so the thigh and lower leg are both parallel to the ground in the up position.
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Simultaneously flex the opposite arm so that it is parallel to the ground in the up position. Hold for two seconds and return both to the starting position and repeat for the desired number of repetitions. Switch sides and repeat. Dont let your hips open up. Your heel should be pointing straight back!

Front Plank Get in the plank position by lying on your stomach with your feet together. Now push-up on your elbows, with your elbows directly beneath your shoulders. Your hips should be raised slightly and your core muscles (including your glutes!) should be braced as if someone was going to kick you in the stomach. Hold this position for the desired time. For added difficulty and to improve the reactive ability of the core musculature, add in a partner perturbation to this exercise.

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1-Leg Front Plank Get in the plank position by lying on your stomach with your feet together. Now push yourself up on your forearms, with your elbows directly beneath your shoulders. Your hips should be raised slightly and your core muscles should be braced as if someone was going to kick you in the stomach. Lift one foot off the ground and hold this position for the desired time. Switch legs and repeat. For added difficulty and to improve the reactive ability of the core musculature, add in a partner perturbation to this exercise.

Front Plank March Get in the plank position by lying on your stomach with your feet together. Now push yourself up on your forearms, with your elbows directly beneath your shoulders. Your hips should be raised slightly and your core muscles should be braced as if someone was going to kick you in the stomach. Lift one foot off the ground, hold for a second, then put it back down. Immediately lift the other foot off the ground, hold for a second, and put it back down. Repeat this marching pattern for the desired amount of time.

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Side Plank Lie down on your side with your feet on top of each other. Now push yourself up on your down forearm so that your upper arm is perpendicular to the ground. Brace your core muscles as if someone was going to kick you in the stomach. Hold this position for the desired time. Attempt to stay straight as a board from your ankles through your shoulders. Dont let your hips fall back or rotate. For added difficulty and to improve the reactive ability of the core musculature, add in a partner perturbation to this exercise.

1-Leg Side Plank Lie down on your side with your feet on top of each other. Now push yourself up on your down forearm so that your upper arm is perpendicular to the ground. Brace your core muscles as if someone was going to kick you in the stomach. Lift the top leg about a foot off the other and hold this position for the desired time. Attempt to stay straight as a board from your ankles through your shoulders. Dont let your hips fall back or rotate. Switch sides and repeat. For added
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difficulty and to improve the reactive ability of the core musculature, add in a partner perturbation to this exercise.

Side Plank with Abduction Lie down on your side with your feet on top of each other. Now push yourself up on your down forearm so that your upper arm is perpendicular to the ground. Brace your core muscles as if someone was going to kick you in the stomach. Lift the top leg about a foot off the other and hold this position for one second, then return the leg to a position on top of the down-leg. Immediately lift the leg back up, hold for a second, and return to the starting position. Repeat this hip abducting pattern for the desired time. Attempt to stay straight as a board from your ankles through your shoulders. Dont let your hips fall back or rotate. Switch sides and repeat.

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Side-Front-Side Plank Rotation This exercise involves transitioning from a side plank, to a front plank, to a side plank on the opposite side, all while keeping a tight core. The positioning is the same as described above.

Glute Bridge Hold Lie on the ground with your knees bent to 90. Your heels should be on the ground, but your toes should be lifted towards your shins. Place your hands on your midsection. Contract your core muscles to brace your midsection. Contract your gluteal muscles to pull your hips up. Hold this position for the desired time. Avoid pushing up through your heels. Only go up as high as your glutes will take you, avoiding lower back movement. For added difficulty and to improve the reactive
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ability of the core musculature, add in a partner perturbation to this exercise.

1-Leg Glute Bridge Hold Lie on the ground with your knees bent to 90. Your heels should be on the ground, but your toes should be lifted towards your shins. Place your hands on your midsection. Brace your core muscles. Raise one leg so that the bottom of your foot is facing up. Contract your gluteal muscles to pull your hips up. Hold this position for the desired time. Only go up as high as your glutes will take you, avoiding lower back movement. For added difficulty and to improve the reactive ability of the core musculature, add in a partner perturbation to this exercise.

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Glute Bridge Lift Lie on the ground with your knees bent to 90. Your heels should be on the ground, but your toes should be lifted towards your shins. Place your hands on your midsection. Brace your core muscles. Contract your gluteal muscles to pull your hips up. Use your gluteal muscles to slowly lower your hips down to the starting position. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions. Avoid pushing up through your heels. Only go up as high as your glutes will take you, avoiding lower back movement.

1-Leg Glute Bridge Lift Lie on the ground with your knees bent to 90. Your heels should be on the ground, but your toes should be lifted towards your shins. Place your hands on your midsection. Brace your core muscles. Raise one leg so that the bottom of your foot is facing up. Contract your gluteal muscles to pull your hips up. Use your gluteal muscles to slowly lower your hips down to the starting position. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions. Switch legs and repeat. Avoid pushing up through your heels. Only go up as high as your glutes will take you, avoiding lower back movement.

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Lying Leg Extension Lie on your back with your thighs perpendicular to the ground, your knees flexed maximally and your toes pulled toward your shins. Contract your core muscles to pull your belly button down toward your spine; hold this position throughout the exercise. Slowly extend one leg, scraping your heel along the ground. After reaching full extension, return to the starting position. Switch legs and repeat.

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Dead-Bugs Lie on your back with your thighs perpendicular to the ground, your knees flexed maximally and your toes pulled toward your shins. Contract your core muscles to pull your belly button down toward your spine; hold this position throughout the exercise. Slowly extend one leg, scraping your heel along the ground. Simultaneously flex the opposite-side arm. After reaching full leg extension and arm flexion, return to the starting position. Switch sides and repeat.

Reverse Crunches Lie on your back with your thighs perpendicular to the ground, your knees flexed maximally and your toes pulled toward your shins. If you need to, hold onto something stable behind your head to act as a counterbalance. A partners legs will work well here. Contract your core muscles to pull your belly button down toward your spine; hold this position throughout the exercise. Now, pull your knees in toward your chest and lift your hips off the ground in a reverse curling motion.
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Slowly return to the starting position and repeat. Try to curl into as tight of a ball as possible, keeping your feet as close to your rear, and your knees as close to your chest as possible. Dont rock and dont let a space form between your lower back and the ground.

Crunches Lie on your back with your thighs perpendicular to the ground, your knees bent to 90 and your toes pulled toward your shins. Contract your core muscles to pull your belly button down toward your spine; hold this position throughout the exercise. With your elbows fully extended, hold a hockey stick above your knee caps with your hands. Tuck your chin and curl up, sliding the stick along your shins until it reaches your shoelaces. Return to the starting position and repeat. Think of curling up one spinal segment at a time. Dont allow your legs to move at all. Dont rock and dont let a space form between your lower back and the ground.

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Side Swings Stand with your feet at shoulder width. Hold a weight in front of your body with both hands so that your shoulders are flexed to 90. Swing the weight from side to side rapidly, preventing rotation by using your core muscles. Your body should NOT turn at all. Only your arms are moving. Keep your torso upright and your shoulders and hips square throughout the entire range-of-motion.

Standing Figure-8s Stand with your feet at shoulder width. Hold a weight in front of your body with both hands so that your shoulders are flexed to 90. Rapidly swing the weight in a figure-8 pattern, moving down across your body, then up one side, then down across your body, then up the other side,
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etc. Use your core muscles to prevent rotation. Your body should NOT turn at all. Only your arms are moving. Keep your torso upright and your shoulders and hips square throughout the entire range-of-motion.

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1/2 Kneeling Partner Perturbations Step forward into a lunge position with your front and back ankle, knees, and hips bent to 90. Interlock your fingers and hold your arms straight out in front of you. Brace your core musculature and squeeze the gluteal muscles of the back leg. Have a partner provide rapid, lowintensity perturbations to your hands in different directions. Use your braced core to prevent movement as much as possible. Keep your torso upright and your shoulders and hips square throughout the entire exercise. Continue for the desired amount of time. Switch legs and repeat.

Tall Kneeling Partner Perturbations Kneel down on both knees, and squeeze your gluteal muscles to push your hips through. Interlock your fingers and hold your arms straight out in front of you. Brace your core musculature. Have a partner provide rapid, low-intensity perturbations to your hands in different directions. Use your braced core to prevent movement as much as possible. Keep your torso upright and your shoulders and hips square throughout the entire exercise. Continue for the desired amount of time.

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Standing Partner Perturbations Stand with your feet about hip-width apart and your hips and knees slightly flexed. Interlock your fingers and hold your arms straight out in front of you. Brace your core musculature and push down and out with your feet as if you were attempting to spread the floor apart. Have a partner provide rapid, low-intensity perturbations to your hands in different directions. Use your braced core to prevent movement as much as possible. Keep your torso upright and your shoulders and hips square throughout the entire exercise. Continue for the desired amount of time.

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Hockey Stick Perturbations Stand with your feet about hip-width apart and your hips and knees slightly flexed. Hold a hockey stick out in front of you, so that the stick is either parallel or perpendicular (your choice) to the ground. Brace your core musculature and push down and out with your feet as if you were attempting to spread the floor apart. Have a partner provide rapid, low-intensity perturbations to the hockey stick in different directions. Use your braced core to prevent movement as much as possible. Keep your torso upright and your shoulders and hips square throughout the entire exercise. Continue for the desired amount of time.

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